It was a close one for the Wildcats, but the Cards ultimately came out on top, defeating Kentucky 80-75 inside the KFC YUM Center. Despite a late-game rally and a double-double performance by freshman Rhyne Howard, No. 19 Kentucky couldn’t come back from a 15-point third quarter deficit to beat No. 5 Louisville. The Cats now fall to 9-1 on the season after their first true-road game.
The game was a fight from start-to-finish, with five ties throughout the four quarters. The Cardinal defense attacked Maci Morris early, and she picked up two quick fouls while giving the Cats limited offensive contributions in the first half. Rhyne Howard, on the other hand, was lighting up the Louisville defense – she hit double-digit scoring before halftime (she had 12 points and seven rebounds at the break). The Cats were sloppy with the ball throughout the first half of the game, committing seven turnovers. But they fought and held on, and Kentucky entered the locker room trailing 29-36.
Then the Cards made halftime adjustments. After the break, Louisville went on a scoring run, eventually strengthening their lead to 15 points by the end of the third quarter: 67-52. And although the Cats finally got into an offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter – they outscored Louisville by 10 points during the final period – it just wasn’t enough.
Rhyne Howard finished with a huge 25 points for the Wildcats, while also adding 10 rebounds, six assists and one steal. She did, however, commit five turnovers, which will have to be corrected before the Cats take on other elite competitors.
Senior Taylor Murray was the team’s second-leading scorer, finishing with 18 points with three rebounds and two steals.
Maci Morris was next, scoring 11-points and grabbing four rebounds. It wasn’t the best game for Morris if you solely look at the numbers, but her defense has continued to improve and today, that helped the Wildcats keep the score close.
Kentucky will have a few days off to regroup and take their final exams, but then it’s back to the grind. The Wildcats are slated to take on Middle Tennessee Saturday, December 15 at 1:00. The game will take place inside Memorial Coliseum and can be seen on the SEC Network+